There are many species of crustaceans that we avoid eating because we are not adequately informed. Can you eat barnacles? If this creature falls in your list of unsure ones, then read here.
If knowledge excites you then this is surely what you shall get here. Keep reading!
Can you eat barnacles?
Let us discuss can you eat barnacles. Barnacles which are known to be the pests of the sea, are actually harvested and are edible. They crustaceans taste delicious. Despite having a history of being poisonous and ingestible, barnacles are consumed all around the world. Even history has mentioned that these were a source of sustenance while sailing on the ocean. Portugal and Spain are the two places where barnacles are the most eaten but in some parts of North America and Europe, they are eaten as well. The most commonly eaten species of barnacle which is edible are the gooseneck barnacle. These species are mostly found over the rocks along the coastline.
Although barnacles cause huge problems for the ships but if you need food then there is a great supply. They can be harvested from the underneath of the ship right away and eaten. In fact, this too was one of the main methods of barnacle harvesting, according to history.
To harvest a barnacle, you have to pinch it off using the hand and then when you squeeze, the meat comes out. There is another method too. With the help of a scraper, you can scrape it off too. One must be a little cautious to scrape the barnacle and not the wood too if he happens to be collecting it from underneath a pier of a wooden boat. It must also be remembered that it requires a lot of muscle strength to scrape off barnacles. One must take shot breaks while doing so and also keep a bucket of seawater for storing the barnacles.
There are different methods and recipes for cooking barnacles. It can be boiled in saltwater but one needs to measure the same amount of salt as it happens in seawater. The meat of a barnacle is delicate and flavorless overall but has a faint hint of sweetness to it. So, it is important to add mild seasoning to it. Some say they taste like crabs while others are of the opinion that it is similar to young lobster. In most of the recipes, they are not smeared heavily with sauces but are flavored simply. They go well with salt lemon and also with lemon butter sauce or garlic aioli sauce.
Although barnacles are safe for human consumption but there also happens to be certain species too that must be avoided. Some species of barnacles feed in plastic that has been littered in the ocean. These prove to be harmful for human consumption.
Less known facts about barnacles
- Depending on the species, they may reach up to 0.4 to 2.7 inches in diameter.
- They have a different range of colors from orange, brown, yellow, green and pink. They have stripes too and this depends on the habitat they are a part of. Their colors also act as a camouflage.
- The outer shell of barnacle is hard like molluscs. They usually have a round shape with 6 calcareous plates.
- These creatures of the sea do not have a heart or the gills. Their bodies are made in such a manner that it allows them to breathe through its walls. They have feathery appendages which are called cirri.
- After hatching they no longer swim much but only for a short time. Their natures are such that they spend their entire lives remaining attached to hard surfaces like boats, rocks, shells.
- These are actually omnivores. They feed on algae and planktons.
- They are filter-feeders, collecting small food particles from water with the help of their feathery appendages.
- They have a lifespan between 5-10 years.
So, this research helps us to conclude that barnacles are edible. Yet one must be aware of not eating the member of the species that eats plastic. Here is all about can you eat barnacles.